The Chinese Foreign Ministry has asked Korea to hand over a Chinese man once he finishes his prison sentence here for throwing Molotov cocktails at the Japanese Embassy. Beijing wants to prevent the man's extradition to Japan for another arson attack there.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked by reporters about Beijing’s position on the Liu Qiang (38), said Beijing "considers this issue extremely important. We hope that the Korean government will resolve this problem fairly and appropriately so that the legal rights of the Chinese national will be guaranteed."
Hong is being released on Nov. 8 after serving a 10-month sentence. The Chinese government has asked Korea through diplomatic channels not to deport him to Japan, but this is the first time Beijing has mentioned the request publicly.
In December last year, Liu tried to set fire to Japan's Yasukuni Shrine, which is dedicated to the 2.5 million Japanese war dead including convicted war criminals. The shrine is widely seen elsewhere in Asia as a symbol of Japanese aggression.
After the arson attempt, Liu came to Korea and was arrested in January after throwing four Molotov cocktails at the Japanese Embassy here.